Severe Cost Burden Associated with Chronic Pancreatitis

FEBRUARY 05, 2016
Andrew Smith
A new analysis of cohort study data estimates the average annual cost of caring for children with chronic pancreatitis or acute recurrent pancreatitis in the US now approaches $50,000.
Investigators tallied healthcare utilization rates by 224 children (median age: 12.7 years) who participated in the INSPIRE registry (International Study Group of Pediatric Pancreatitis: In search for a cuRE). They then pulled data on average costs across the US for each product and service to estimate the cost of treating each patient in this country.
The majority of the children (58%) had acute recurrent pancreatitis. The remaining 42% had chronic pancreatitis.
The mean number of hospitalizations, including hospitalizations for surgery and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), was 2.3 per patient per year. The estimated average cost for those hospitalizations was $38,755 per patient per year — a figure that rose to $40,589 per patient per year when investigators included the estimated cost of outpatient medications.
The costs associated with each regular surgery, including the hospital stay, were $42,951 per patient per surgery. The costs associated with each ERCP were far lower: $12,035 per procedure.
The investigators also looked at the cost of routine care and estimated that the annual per patient cost of pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy was $4,114, while the annual per patient cost of diabetic medications was $1,761 and the annual cost of pain medications was $614.
An exploratory analysis found a number of characteristics that appeared to be associated with higher costs: more frequent attacks of acute recurrent pancreatitis, reported constant or episodic pain, family history of pancreatic cancer, and use of pain medication.

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